How faith in God provides hope and comfort during hard times

In this episode of The Christian Minute podcast, host Anne Markey sits down with Colleen Faul, a remarkable woman who has faced the challenges of raising a child with special needs.

Colleen shares her background as a missionary with Net Ministries and her current role as a stay-at-home wife and mother of two toddlers.

Together, we discuss the importance of sharing each other’s burdens and how faith in God can provide hope and comfort during difficult times.

As we delve into Colleen’s personal journey, we discuss the struggles of raising a child with infantile spasms and tuber sclerosis complex, both rare conditions that have caused health issues and developmental delays. 

Whether you’re facing your own challenges or simply seeking inspiration, this episode offers uplifting and inspiring messages for listeners to take away.

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable insight from Colleen’s journey and the power of faith in overcoming adversity.

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Download the episode transcript here.

Episode At A Glance:

Time stamps

00:00:00- Reflections on Faith and Life Journeys

  • 00:08:02- Parenting a Child with Special Needs
  • 00:10:11- The Unexpected Diagnosis of a Child’s Neurological Disorder
  • 00:13:51- Heading: Infantile Spasms Diagnosis: A Mother’s Story
  • 00:19:23- Grieving the Loss of a Future
  • 00:23:33- Detaching from Materialism and Finding Comfort in God’s Love
  • 00:33:41- Accepting a Child’s Autism Diagnosis
  • 00:39:57- Parenting a Child with ADHD and Dyslexia
  • 00:41:51- Parenting Special Needs Children and Finding Strength in Faith
  • 00:48:46- God’s Love and Acceptance of Special Needs
  • 00:51:21-  Practicality of the Christian Faith in Today’s World

Connecting through Pain: The Importance of Sharing Our Struggles

Collen’s experience with her daughter Grace, who has rare genetic diseases, infantile spasms, and tuber sclerosis complex, shows how hard it is for parents of children with disabilities.

Grace’s health problems and slow growth have had a big effect on Collen and her family, who have had to show a lot of strength and resilience as a result.

People are often discouraged by social rules from talking about their problems and pain, especially on social media, where people usually only talk about the good things in their lives. It can be hard to talk about our problems and burdens, but as Anne says, it’s important to do so if we want to connect with other people and get help.

As Christians, we are told to share each other’s problems. By doing this, we can help each other get through life’s hard times. Collen’s willingness to tell her story lets others learn about and understand the problems that families of kids with disabilities go through.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote from the blog post that says, The Bible instructs us to share each other's burden, but in reality, it can be challenging to do so. This is because our culture has fostered a mindset of pretending that everything is okay even when we are struggling with significant issues. For instance, your child's health problems might be causing you a lot of distress. I hope that through our conversation, we can inspire others to support one another, no matter what they may be going through.

The Healing Power of Vulnerability: Opening Up to Others  

We all have to deal with pain, sadness, and hard times in life. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed and lost. It could be because of a bad breakup, a job loss, a family problem, or a personal issue. It can be hard to find hope and healing on our own in these times.

That’s why it’s important to have a group of people who care about us and can help us through hard times.

[00:11:12] “I think we need to be intentional about finding people to share our burdens with and then intentionally creating a space where they feel comfortable sharing their burdens with us”

This is a fact. Just having people around us isn’t enough.

We need to go out of our way to find people we can trust who are willing to listen and help. And once we find these people, we need to make sure they feel safe and welcome so they can talk to us about their problems.

Having a group of people who can help you feel better is very important.

[00:13:24] “It’s important to find those people who can pray for you and with you.”

Whether you are religious or not, it can be very helpful to have people who can help you with your spiritual life. Knowing that someone is praying for you and thinking about you can give you a lot of strength and comfort.

It’s also important to realise that healing and hope come when we’re willing to be vulnerable and share our problems with others.

[00:14:33] “I think that’s where we can start to find hope and healing is when we’re able to acknowledge what’s going on and then share it with someone else and let them be with us in that”

When we talk about our problems with other people, we make room for kindness, understanding, and empathy. We let other people join us on our journey and offer their help and support.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote that says, It's not that the struggles are any less, but I think that we're able to find the hope and the joy in the midst of those struggles when we can share them with other people.

Navigating a Life-Altering Diagnosis for Your Child 

We all have to deal with pain, sadness, and hard times in life. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed and lost. It could be because of a bad breakup, a job loss, a family problem, or a personal issue. It can be hard to find hope and healing on our own in these times.

That’s why it’s important to have a group of people who care about us and can help us through hard times.

[00:11:12] “I think we need to be intentional about finding people to share our burdens with and then intentionally creating a space where they feel comfortable sharing their burdens with us”

This is a fact. Just having people around us isn’t enough.

We need to go out of our way to find people we can trust who are willing to listen and help. And once we find these people, we need to make sure they feel safe and welcome so they can talk to us about their problems.

Having a group of people who can help you feel better is very important.

[00:13:24] “It’s important to find those people who can pray for you and with you.”

Whether you are religious or not, it can be very helpful to have people who can help you with your spiritual life. Knowing that someone is praying for you and thinking about you can give you a lot of strength and comfort.

It’s also important to realise that healing and hope come when we’re willing to be vulnerable and share our problems with others.

[00:14:33] “I think that’s where we can start to find hope and healing is when we’re able to acknowledge what’s going on and then share it with someone else and let them be with us in that”

When we talk about our problems with other people, we make room for kindness, understanding, and empathy. We let other people join us on our journey and offer their help and support.

Reframing Expectations: Life With A Neurodiverse Child 

When a parent hears the words, “Your daughter has infantile spasms,” their world can come crashing down. The fear, uncertainty, and grief that follows can be overwhelming. That’s what happened to me when my daughter was diagnosed with this rare form of epilepsy.

[00:05:18] “It was a scary time,”

I remember thinking as I sat in the doctor’s office, trying to make sense of what was happening. My mind raced with questions and concerns. Would my daughter be okay? Would she ever be able to live a normal life? What did this mean for our family’s future?

As we started taking care of our daughter with special needs, it became clear that she wouldn’t have the life I thought she would have. We had to deal with things I didn’t expect, like medical treatments and therapies, as well as the daily struggles of living with a child who was behind in growth.

Parents of children with neurodiversity know that even simple jobs can be hard. Even simple things like brushing hair, getting dressed, or eating a meal can cause stress and worry. It’s the weight of knowing that they’re different and having trouble and that you can’t do much about it, plus the fact that they’re not reaching the regular milestones.

[00:20:29] “I really did go through a grieving process, not necessarily grieving a death, but grieving a life that I didn’t get to live,”

I recall remember as I struggled to come to terms with my daughter’s diagnosis. I was mourning the loss of a dream, the dream of having a “typical” family and a “typical” life.

It’s a weight that is difficult to put into words, but one that is all too familiar to parents of children with special needs.

I also thought about the future, and how my daughter’s condition might affect it.

[00:22:54] “I may not get to have grandkids by her,” I remember thinking as I watched her struggle.

It’s a thought that still brings tears to my eyes, but one that has also taught me to cherish every moment that we have together.

“There were all of these things I didn’t know. I was clinging to…” I thought, as I searched for answers and support.

[00:23:26] I found solace in connecting with other parents of children with special needs, who understood what I was going through and could offer advice and support.

A picture of Colleen Faul next to a quote that says,   Through it all, I have learned that while life may not always turn out the way we expect, it can still be beautiful.

My daughter may face challenges, but she has also taught me more about love, resilience, and strength than I ever thought possible. 

I am grateful for every moment that we have together, and I am proud to be her mom.

Embracing The Journey: Learning To Love Your Child For Who They Are 

Parents don’t find it easy to let go of the idea of a “typical” child. It can be especially hard if the child has a disease like autism.

“detaching myself from the idea that my daughter was going to be a neurotypical child…I held out hope for that for a while, and then as time went by…put one more nail in the coffin of, no, she’s not going to be typical neurotypical.”

I held on to this idea for a while but finally realised that her daughter would not be like other kids her age.

It’s hard for a mother to accept that her daughter has a genetic disorder.

 “I had been praying for a miracle ever since we learned about all this. I’ve just been praying, god, please heal my daughter. Please heal her. But God answered: I’m not going to fix your daughter. I have given you a daughter that you were not expecting, but she is a gift.”

The Lord creates each of our children, and we need to stop seeing them as broken, but as gifts.

A picture of Colleen Faul next to a quote that says, The only one who's going to suffer by seeing the difference is me. And I can either allow myself to suffer from it or just love her the way she is.

As hard it is for me to raise a daughter who has autism. At first, it was stressful and I didn’t know what to do, but I’m glad I had the chance to learn and grow because of it.

I have been able to find inner strengths and traits I didn’t know I had.

“I’m just really grateful for the experience of all of it because it’s shown me the strength that I have, that I never would have had to use if I hadn’t gone through this. And I think I’m a better person for it. I know I’m a better person for it.”

This has given me the confidence and strength to deal with tough situations.

By facing and getting through these problems, I’ve become a better person. I’ve learned to look at the world differently and enjoy the small things in life.

When we face problems, they can help us find strengths and skills we didn’t know we had. It can also teach us important things about ourselves and the world around us. In the end, the problems we face can make us better people if we use them to learn and grow.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote from the blog post that says, We're not guaranteed anything in life, you know? The only thing we're guaranteed is that we're going to die. We don't know when that's going to happen, and we don't know how it's going to happen...So why not just embrace the journey and love the people that we're with and just be grateful for the time that we have with them?

Where Can Parents Go?

When I think about the Lord, I think about my kids and how they snuggle up to me. I just picture myself climbing into The Lord’s lap and resting there.

I know why my kids come to me for that, and I come to the Lord for the same thing.

God calls us to come to Him like that – Dad, Abba Father means Daddy. He’s calling us to His lap, so that we can tell Him all the things that are hurting us and making us worried.

As parents, I really have no power to change much about my kids’ scenarios, but just knowing that God does, gives us access to the one person who can change things.”

About Collen

A picture of Colleen Faul

Colleen Keefe Faul is the author of God’s Precious Gift: A Special Needs Child. At 6 months old, Colleen’s daughter, Grace,  was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

The experience pulled Colleen deeper into her faith, where she found consolation in the form of creativity. She was inspired to write a faith-based children’s book for the special needs community that was as much for the parents as it was for the children.

Her mission is to help members of the special needs community, their loved ones, and their caretakers find peace in God’s Will.

Check out her book!  |  Connect on Instagram  Connect on Facebook

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How faith in God provides hope and comfort during hard times
How faith in God provides hope and comfort during hard times

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